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FP6 CivicActive Institutional arrangements for European Parliament elections: Do they facilitate? Do they mobilise? Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.

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Presentation on theme: "FP6 CivicActive Institutional arrangements for European Parliament elections: Do they facilitate? Do they mobilise? Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher."— Presentation transcript:

1 FP6 CivicActive Institutional arrangements for European Parliament elections: Do they facilitate? Do they mobilise? Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher University of Plymouth, UK Eva Anduiza Perea and Joan Font Barcelona and Madrid, Spain

2 Institutional mobilisation – Attributes of the political system and of the political process that make people want to vote Institutional facilitation – Attributes of the administration of elections and of the political communication process that make it easy to vote FP6 CivicActive

3 Underlying mobilizing indicators Degree of political decentralization Financial autonomy of local units Indices on degree of federalism and decentralisation State format and organisation FP6 CivicActive

4 Scores on the composite index of non-central independence from central government FP6 CivicActive GermanyAustriaFrance HungaryCzech RGreece Belgium Italy LithuaniaEstonia Denmark Poland Lux’bourgIreland Finland UK Netherl’sLatvia Spain PortugalMalta Sweden SloveniaSlovakia

5 Underlying mobilizing indicators Availability of direct democracy institutions FP6 CivicActive

6 Underlying mobilizing indicators Social fragmentation Religious fragmentation Linguistic fragmentation Ethnic fragmentation FP6 CivicActive

7 Linguistic fragmentation Belgium2.2Finland1.1 Spain1.8Netherlands1.1 France1.3Ireland1.1 Sweden 1.2Denmark1.1 Germany1.2Austria1.0 Italy1.2Portugal1.0 UK1.2 FP6 CivicActive

8 Contextual mobilizing indicators Degree of political fragmentation and polarization Party system fragmentation Government Fragmentation Political Polarisation FP6 CivicActive

9 Voter turnout in the 2004 EP elections (%) Vote for extreme political parties (%) % voteFitted values Vote for ‘extreme’ political parties

10 Contextual mobilizing indicators Electoral cycle Time since last elections Simultaneous elections FP6 CivicActive

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12 Facilitating indicators Pre-vote ‘Automatic’ registration Flexible voting opportunities Voter education Campaign funding FP6 CivicActive

13 Flexible voting opportunities Postal voting – GB all postal (14m); on demand -Spain, Germany; at post offices -Finland, Sweden E-voting – polling place -Belgium (3.2m), France, Portugal (pilots) remote –Netherlands (very limited) ‘Mobile’ voting – any polling station in country -Czech R, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia FP6 CivicActive

14 Facilitating indicators At vote Ballot paper design Availability of ‘choice’ FP6 CivicActive

15 Ballot paper design Party symbols/logos – Colour -Ireland, Italy Black and White -Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, UK Candidate photographs – Cyprus, Ireland Non-alphabetic ordering – Lithuania (random listing), Netherlands (parl. strength), Slovakia (random within parties) FP6 CivicActive

16 Explaining turnout change Turnout increases Finland GE 31 st March ‘Candidate-centred’/media Ireland Local elections + Ref Local elections + Ref Netherlands ‘More polarised parties’ UK Locals 6 th MayLocal elections + all postal FP6 CivicActive

17 Explaining turnout change Turnout decreases Austria (GE 3 rd October)Pres 25 th April Greece GE 7 th March Spain Local + Reg electionsGE 14 th March FP6 CivicActive

18 The British case I % increase in turnout All-postal regions Local electionNo local elections North East North West Yorkshire /Humber East Midlands Non-postal regions West Midlands Eastern South East South West FP6 CivicActive

19 The British case II Dependent variable = change in % turnout BStd error All postal9.69*0.33 Locals4.07*0.30 % aged % aged % manag/prof0.12*0.03 % council/HA % white-0.16*0.02 (constant)24.17*3.02 Adjusted R *significant at 0.01 level FP6 CivicActive

20 Countries seem to have ‘normal’ turnout levels which can be depressed/boosted by specific events/initiatives Moving a country to a different level is more difficult –and requires legislative change/long bedding in period Therefore, 2009 likely to be much like 2004 – with observed differences ‘explainable’ in a similar way Conclusions


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